London's 'Gherkin' tower sold to billionaire

(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)

London - London's landmark "Gherkin" office tower has been sold to investment company Safra Group, controlled by Brazilian-Lebanese billionaire Joseph Safra.

The office tower was placed into receivership by its creditors, accountancy firm and joint receivers Deloitte in April. Germany's IVG Immobilien, which co-owned the 40-storey Gherkin with Evans Randall Ltd, filed for insolvency last year after years of cost overruns and mounting debt.

An icon of London's skyline with its distinctive curved glass shape which gave it its Gherkin nickname, the skyscraper was built by reinsurer Swiss Re in 2004 and was sold to IVG and Evans Randall in 2007 for $950m. It has 50 000m² of office space.

The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"This building is already a London icon that is distinguished from others in the market, with excellent value growth potential. We intend to make the building even better and more desirable through active ownership that will lead to a range of enhancements that will benefit tenants," Safra said in a statement.

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